The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs

The Teachers' Guide to Bright Sparcs - Level 6

'Life and Living' Strand, Living Together

Prepare a case for and against the use of
a species for biological control
of a pest or disease

Australia's history holds many examples of biological control:

By using the Bright Sparcs search option, you can find many scientists who were involved in biological control programs. The User's Guide to Bright Sparcs contains more details on how to search the database.


Dame Jean Macnamara is one Australian scientist who advocated the use of biological control in Australia; she championed the use of myxomatosis. The research program was managed by the CSIRO and there are many great stories to be discovered. For example,

At one time, the release of myxomatosis coincided with an outbreak of encephalitis, caused by Murray River Fever. The public blamed myxomatosis for the encephalitis outbreak. To disprove them, the well-known scientists Frank Macfarlane Burnett, Ian Clunies Ross and Frank Fenner injected themselves with myxomatosis to prove to the public that it was perfectly safe!

Prickly Pear Cactus

Other Conservation Issues

Two other Australian biologists whose work focussed on ecology and conservation issues were:

'Working Scientifically' Strand, Using Science

Find out about the achievements of scientists
and the contexts in which they worked

As mentioned in the Introduction, Australia has a rich scientific heritage that is definitely worth studying. We've all heard of Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur, and Leonardo da Vinci, but who can name even five Australian scientists - and what about our Nobel prize winners? Bright Sparcs offers you the chance to learn more about Australia's scientific past and to pass this knowledge on to your students.

To help your students learn more about Australia's long and productive scientific, technological and medical heritage, some questions that could be asked in class are:

To assist you in preparing for your class, there is a variety of information available at this site:

Bright Sparcs is a biographical and bibliographical database of Australian scientists and contains over 3,000 entries. It includes both scientists who were Australian by birth and those who undertook significant scientific work in Australia.

Each Bright Sparcs entry contains: the scientist's name, dates, place of birth, and some details of their professional life. There are at least a few lines of information on each of these scientists and this can act as a starting point for further research in libraries and a jump point to other online sources, where you can find more information about that particular scientist.

The Physics in Australia to 1945 site contains more detailed information on Australian physicists, with listings of their publications and biographical details. The introduction is an excellent place to start with this site.

When you access the Australian Academy of Science Biographical Memoirs, you will find lengthy, detailed life stories of over eighty famous Australian scientists. These files can then be downloaded and/or printed out for later use at home or in the classroom.

For especially keen students, or if you need to find out much more information on a particular scientist, a Bibliography is now available through Bright Sparcs. This resource lists any biographical books or articles about an Australian scientist, which can then be located in your library.

To start you on your way, a number of Australian scientists are listed below. All did significant work in Australia, and all have detailed online resources, in addition to their basic Bright Sparcs listings:

If you have any suggestions on Australian scientists that we can feature in this section,
please email us at:

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Published by the Australian Science Archives Project on ASAPWeb, 7 March 1997
Comments or corrections to: Bright Sparcs (
Prepared by: Denise Sutherland and Elissa Tenkate
Updated by: Elissa Tenkate
Date modified: 19 February 1998

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